The Centre is assisting the City of Fernie with their OCP update and alignment with Forever Fernie, the City’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan. Community engagement is an essential part of the update process, and we were able to facilitate some fun and creative ways to get valuable input by tailoring the engagement strategy and techniques to the specific audiences.
Speed Geeking – What the ?
We led a morning business focus group through a fast-paced ‘speed geeking’ exercise where local and major business representatives worked in groups and individually in 5-10 minute intervals to reveal what is making their businesses successful in Fernie, what the challenges are, and where they might work with the City to enhance local business success. The whole process took under 1 hour, was fun and fast, and included a great breakfast to ensure participants could still start the day on time.
Works for me, dude!
Given the importance, we went to them directly and met the high school classes at Fernie Secondary School and Fernie Academy. We wanted to find out: what isn’t good or working for them in the City; what they are proud of and like about Fernie; and what needs to change to make them want to stay in Fernie after high school. Through some fun mapping and creative art-based group competitions and prizes, we got great feedback from Fernie teens that will help us make sure the new OCP integrates their needs as well.
Open Houses can be fun!
Although open houses can be deadly dull, they can also be a lot of fun and a great way to communicate information and get feedback at the same time. Along with our project partners, EcoPlan International, we used a number of interactive techniques – community mapping, interactive boards and one-on-one discussions – to learn from attendees about the parts of the OCP that are not working, the changes they would like to see in their community, and all that is great about the community that should be protected.
While meaningful public engagement takes a lot of time and effort, the benefits are realized when the resulting product reflects the wishes and desires of the community, and ultimately helps the community get to where it wants to go. And the more fun, interactive and meaningful you can make it, the more likely you’ll get people coming out, again and again!